Ramesh Ponnuru deems it “disgusting” to equate opposition to the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act with approving of equal pay for women. And of course it’s true. It’s perfectly possible to think that it’s wrong to discriminate against women in your pay practices but just also oppose any effort to make it feasible to redress that right. It’s just like how the people who opposed anti-lynching laws in the 1920s and 30s weren’t for lynching, they were just against federal interference in state law enforcement efforts. Or how conservatives in the mid-1960s were against the Civil Rights Act, liked to insult Martin Luther King, and had an electoral base of white supremacists but didn’t approve of segregation.
But at some point politics is about policy. If your opposition to pay discrimination doesn’t extend to favoring measures to halt pay discrimination, then what’s it worth? To people suffering from illegal discrimination, it’s worth nothing. To people who want to engage in illegal discrimination, it’s worth quite a lot.